Lord, increase our faith. (Luk 17:5) Amen.
Text: Luke 24:36–48
Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence. Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”
Jesus shows them His hands and feet with the marks of the nail prints, so that they would be sure that it was He Himself. When He comes again, we shall know Him by these same marks. The Lord still bears His scars, but in transfigured form: He is the same on the throne as on the cross: God and Man in one Person, the Crucified and Risen One. He could have taken His body back from death without the scars if He had wanted, but He wants to show them to the Father and the angels as well as His accusers. To us they should be precious. They speak for us before God. The same One, who died for us, lives for us by the atoning and saving grace of His death.
In the meantime our eyes cannot see Him for the condition set by God for our salvation is that right now we should believe and not see. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” But how shall we then find Him and be assured that we are with Him, assured that He is with us, and that it is He Himself? For our life depends on this, and here we must not build on a dream, nor on human wisdom. Here it is necessary to have solid ground under our feet. May the Spirit explain it to your heart! Note then what you read in this Gospel. His Apostles, who are eyewitnesses of His death and resurrection, He sends out into the world to gather people to Him, and He promises to be with them in that. But they could no longer point to His nail prints and display His scars to their eyes, they were only able to and supposed to preach the Gospel and baptize. There His scars are visible to the eye of faith! Where the Word of repentance and remission of sins is proclaimed, there the Lord Himself is present and there He works faith, just as surely as He was with the Ten and convinced them so that they believed. Let us not ask for signs from heaven like the Pharisees, but hear the Word and meditate on the Scriptures. Aren’t these signs enough? They are exactly the right signs. They are sure, clear, unmistakable signs. For the Lord Himself is in them. Indeed through them Jesus comes down to us with His death and resurrection, with forgiveness of sins and peace! What more do you want? By these means the Holy Spirit creates faith in your heart, if you do not stubbornly reject Him. What more do you need? If you refuse to believe, then that is your condemnation. Whoever believes has life in His name.
Precious Savior, You are at God’s right hand and intercede for us, and You are here and reveal Yourself to our hearts. We thank You for Your holy Word and Your most worthy Sacraments. We do not want any other signs and will not look for You anywhere else. But You know how much unbelief we still have to fight against. We pray You, increase our faith, open the Scriptures to us, give us a simple and childlike mind, keep us with You, grant us grace to confess You and never be offended at Your cross. Amen.
Jesus bids us have His peace,
As among us He is standing,
Peace that never more shall cease,
Peace that passes understanding.
Show our weak faith hands with nailprints,
Wounds that show Thy battle’s imprints.
Show us that Thou fought and won,
Thou art still our Lord and Savior.
Our salvation Thou hast won
And receive us in Thy favor.
Grant amidst our earthly wasting
Peace Thou purchased for our tasting.
Brun: Jesus, som iblandt os staar L 369 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune Liebster Jesu (ELH 1); alternate hymn: The strife is o’er ELH 357:4-5